Friday, October 7, 2011

Get Real (Photos That Is)

One of the things I do is Church Website Design. If we can say there are rules to follow, the number one rule is probably, Content is Key. But the second rule should be something like, Use Pictures of Your Own People. And if I might go a step farther, use pictures of you own people participating in the activities of the church. How often I have looked at church websites and seen images of people that I knew the web designer had pulled off of a stock photo website somewhere. They are nice pictures with high quality and a lot of smiling faces, but they look like stock photos.

I know what these designers are doing. They either don’t have access to photos of the church or they don’t like the photos of the church. When you look at the church and you see a bunch of old white ladies and what you would like to see in the church is a mix of many races, you don’t like the photos of the church. So a web designer will find a picture of some people who look like what you want the church to be, not what it is. So you see photos of people with many different shades of skin color, but you don’t see very many people who are older than their twenties and thirties.

But there’s something real about a church when you can look at the website and see people who are actually part of the church rather than people from who knows where. Someone who has never been to that church can look at the pictures and get an idea of what to expect. Those pictures will give them an idea of the size of the congregation. They will give them an idea of what ministries the church has. They will give them an idea of what clothes people typically wear. It can be uncomfortable if a visitor walks in wearing a suit and he is the only one. So, use photos of real people doing real things.